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the health benefits of hiking

Updated on February 5, 2013

There is loads of research that points towards the benefits of exercise, but what is an easy yet enjoyable way to get exercise, and yet enjoy that particular exercise. We know the benefits include better health, and longevity, and reducing the chance of any particular diseases.

You can also reduce your weight, and reduce your blood pressure easily with hiking. Its one of the best and most enjoyable forms of exercise. You don't feel like you are really exercising and you get to experience loads of great scenery, and you can easily enjoy the exercise with your friends.

Walking is one of the best ways to make the minimum amount of stress on your joints, and your body, this is called low impact. It can certainly beat some of the alternative body pounding exercise methods that are on offer.

There are some excellent health benefits that specifically only hiking can help improve for you, including:

Heart Disease

Hundreds of thousands of people die from heart disease every year, and it not only costs the economy millions, but more importantly it can cost you your life.

If you are not regularly exercising then you increase your chances of heart disease by as much as 100%. Hiking can especially reduce this, as its easy to do, and also provides your blood with very clean air.

Hypertension

Hyper tension again is another symptom of lack of exercise that hiking can also help with. Since you are usually climbing upwards, you are working some of the largest muscles in your body. This in turn is driving your respiratory system, and providing you with a slow and regular breathing pattern that reduces your hypertension.

Diabetes

Diabetes can be caused by a lack of physical exercise among lots of other things. If you have type 2 diabetes you can actually reverse this, through regular exercise, and especially with hiking, as the air quality is so much better, and you will be able to sweat lots of toxins out you body. This will contribute to weight loss, and a more balanced glucose level.

Obesity

If you are hiking, then you will be burning around 100 calories for every mile that you walk. That means that if you are walking at around 2 miles an hour, then you will be burning around 200 calories an hour. A jogger will run at about 4-6 miles an hour, so your really not far from that level of calorie burning, plus its more enjoyable. You will have to also carry a backpack, which is a extra weight, but this will help you and you obviously need a backpack if you are going on a long hike or overnight camping hike.

Some people try to lose weight through dieting, but I have found its much easier with some simple hiking, and walking, to lose weight. You can even take a camera and capture some nice photos of the scenery. You can also get a dog that will help you keep motivated to go for longer walks and hikes.

Anxiety

Comes from the unreleased adrenaline within the body. This causes muscle tension, and a feeling of anxiousness and in some cases paranoia. The only way to ensure this doesn't happen is to take regular exercise, and even a short walk can help. If you think that a real hike is to much to get started with then just build up to that every weekend, with a few walks around the block. Eventually though you'll get bored, and the call of the hills will be enough to encourage you to take the next step.

Hiking really is an easy to do exercise which almost feels like you aren't really doing any exercise, but in reality you are getting a superb endorphin rush, which will keep you happy, and do wonders for your soul.

Osteoporosis and Arthritis

When you are putting pressure on your bones and joints, you are actually increasing the strength and the density of them. To many people who don't do any rigorous exercise find themselves with problems in their body like this. The good think about hiking is that you are strengthening the bones in your legs and feet, and this is where the blood needs to always flow to, since your legs are the largest muscles in your body.

There has been research done that proves that by walking as little as one hour, just 3 times a week, can improve your spinal cord, and bone density by as much as 6 percent, or even more. So what are you waiting for? Pack your sleeping bag, and and your tent, and head off to the hills.

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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Great hub. Hiking has soooo many benefits that its hard to argue against doing it! You've certainly made me want to hit the hills this weekend.

      You might want to add some captions to your lead photo- that's a great view but as a viewer I'd love to know where it is. Cf

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